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Pierce writes: "You would have thought that Senator Jeff Flake would have basked a little longer in the applause he got for scarpering out of the Senate before he got around to the business of emptying his words of any significant meaning they ever had."

Senator Jeff Flake. (photo: Getty Images)
Senator Jeff Flake. (photo: Getty Images)

Here's What Happened Among Republicans a Few Hours After Jeff Flake's Speech

By Charles Pierce, Esquire

25 October 17

Specifically, among those seeking reelection.

ou would have thought that Senator Jeff Flake would have basked a little longer in the applause he got for scarpering out of the Senate before he got around to the business of emptying his words of any significant meaning they ever had. Instead, Flake—along with fellow brave truth-tellers Bob Corker, Ben Sasse and, significantly, John McCain—joined with every other Republican (including Mike Pence, The Great Tiebreaker) to arrange for the screwing of countless Americans and their families.

In the dead of Tuesday night, with the applause still ringing in his ears, Flake voted to strip the Consumer Finance Protection Bureau of a rule that allowed Americans to file class-action suits against banks rather than being forced into an arbitration process that generally is as rigged as a North Korean election. From The Los Angeles Times:

The rule was unveiled in July by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau and praised by Democrats and consumer advocates as giving average people more power to fight industry abuses, such as Wells Fargo & Co.’s creation of millions of unauthorized accounts. But banking lobbyists argued that the rule would unleash a flood of class-action lawsuits, and that the cost of fighting those suits would be passed on to consumers. Republicans quickly moved to repeal the regulation.

You have to love their timing, too. This move comes hard on the heels of the Equifax calamity, and just as the Congress is shilling for a massive upward shift in the country’s wealth that is disguised as a “middle-class tax cut.” Further, it proves that our political system learned absolutely nothing from what happened in 2008, when the masters of the universe nearly blew up the entire world economy.

Set to take effect in March, the rule would not have banned clauses in checking account, credit card and other banking agreements that say disputes between companies and customers must be dealt with privately or in small claims court. Instead, there would have been a ban on provisions that block consumers from banding together to bring class-action cases. The CFPB argued that such cases help hold banks accountable. The determinations of an arbitrator are binding and consumer advocates say most decisions favor the company. The private proceedings also allow banks to deal with individual problems quietly rather than address widespread abuses. George Slover, senior policy counsel for Consumers Union, said the vote “means that big financial companies can lock the courthouse doors and prevent consumers who’ve been mistreated from joining together to seek the relief they deserve under the law.”

You know who’s going to get hosed now, Senator McCain? All those veterans and military families that you’re always so tender about. You know who’s going to take it in the ear, Senators Corker, Flake, and Sasse? All those middle-class people in all those little towns that you spend most of your time praising as the reservoir of Real American Values. None of those people mattered a damn to you Tuesday night, and it wasn’t the president* that forced you to make this vote. You did it with cold deliberation and calculated forethought.

And it’s not as though we don’t already know how stacked a deck the mandatory arbitration process is.

For years, Wells Fargo used arbitration clauses to block lawsuits from customers who alleged that unauthorized accounts had been opened in their names. Ultimately, the bank estimated that as many as 3.5 million such accounts were opened.

Just gaze in awe. Wells Fargo opened three-and-a-half million unauthorized accounts in the names of actual customers. To hell with a class action suit, these people should have been keelhauled under the Staten Island Ferry for a year. Now, though, Wells Fargo and the other banks, and their armies of lobbyists, have choked off the most effective way through which the people so swindled could get some form of justice.

Three-and-a-half million phony accounts. More than twice as many phony accounts as there are actual people living in the borough of Manhattan, wherein Wall Street lies. A little more than three times as many actual people as live in Boston, where Wells Fargo has its headquarters. And the U.S. Senate, an otherwise torpid beast unable to get anything done, bestirs itself to make sure that these swindlers never are called to a proper account. The vice president stays up past his usual bedtime just to make sure. Tell me again who the real owners of the country are. your social media marketing partner


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+35 # dusty 2017-10-25 13:44
Abu Ghraib is the place they should send the corporate bank-robberster s. Or maybe a US prison where they are treated to electric shock to their privates as we did to Iraqis.
+3 # randrjwr 2017-10-28 14:26
Quoting dusty:
Abu Ghraib is the place they should send the corporate bank-robbersters. Or maybe a US prison where they are treated to electric shock to their privates as we did to Iraqis.

I have long thought that, in the name of efficiency, we should convert all the big banks' buildings to prisons so that we wouldn't have to move anybody.
+43 # vt143 2017-10-25 14:25
And the beat goes on. And on. And on.....
Until we get money out of politics those who receive it (READ: all politicians) we continue to get on their knees and do what they are paid to do.
+36 # Elroys 2017-10-25 14:43
Just think what was going thru the minds of McCain Flake, Corker, Sasse, Collins, and other "reasonable" Repubs? What could they possibly be thinking? Are they really that corrupted, that small and soulless?
+13 # bardphile 2017-10-25 14:49
Hillary would have vetoed this travesty.
+6 # LionMousePudding 2017-10-26 15:09
+35 # suzyskier 2017-10-25 15:45
Republicans are American's worst enemies! I don't know how much more damage they can inflict but I'm sure they'll try!
+12 # Jim Rocket 2017-10-25 16:01
Awww. How cute. A whore with a heart of gold.
+3 # Kootenay Coyote 2017-10-25 20:41
Well, brass.
+1 # randrjwr 2017-10-27 10:34
How about tungsten? Nothing will melt that short of the interior of a star.
+43 # grandlakeguy 2017-10-25 16:22
In paragraph two Pierce describes an arbitration process "as rigged as a North Korean election".
When mainstream writers start saying that things are as rigged as AMERICAN elections then perhaps people would wake up and realize that these so called representatives of ours in Washington DC do not represent the American people.

They work for the banks and weapons manufacturers and as long as we abide fake elections we will never get a progressive like Bernie Sanders to set a new course for this nation.
+14 # Robbee 2017-10-25 18:11
the only wonder is why pierce might have thought that flake might flake out on his repug politics because he hates a boorish prez

wise up, charles, flake never was and never will flip progressive - his votes are reliably conservative, yadda yadda
+28 # Robbee 2017-10-25 18:29
also note that, statistically, the vast majority of federal lawsuits deemed frivolous are filed by corporations

consumers don't have lawyers to bring frivolous lawsuits for them, sorry!

there is no future for consumer lawyers who bring frivolous lawsuits - they go broke

the system is rigged - sen. warren
+16 # Robbee 2017-10-25 18:50
on 2nd thought pierce writes -

apparently, Jeff Flake believes that the way to reassert the balance of power between the national legislature and a national executive with a narcissistic crackpot at the helm is to get the hell out of Dodge before the roof caves in. Good profile, lacks courage.

Is he offering his career up as a blood sacrifice? Is he offering it up as an appeal to conscience?

His party is bound to get crazier, and the president* is completely around the bend. The most prominent Republican candidate for Jeff Flake’s seat is an osteopath named Kelli Ward who, in the past, has been chemtrail curious, at least as a constituent service, and who has popped in to chat with Alex Jones from time to time, and who has flirted with nullification as regards federal gun laws, and whose candidacy has been endorsed by both the president* and Steve Bannon, last heir to House Harkonnen.

It is possible, even likely, that the Republican “establishment” will find some conventional conservative to throw in there in order to keep Ward out of the general election, but I wouldn’t take odds on that succeeding. But none of that is Jeff Flake’s problem any more. It’s just ours.
+15 # Robbee 2017-10-25 18:52
flake goes out not with a bang, but with a whimper
+25 # Jayceecool 2017-10-25 19:52
Thank you, again, Mr Pierce! The anti-democratic charade that is Republicanism has again been unmasked...
+30 # angelfish 2017-10-25 20:00
I though Flake and Corker and McCain were Sincere in their denunciation of Trump and the ReTHUGlican Party. Sad to say it was ALL Pretense. HOW in good Conscience could ANY of them go along with THIS Abortion that they've voted for, stripping Working Poor Americans from having ANY recourse against these Scurrilous "banking institutions" who can now CONTINUE to Rape the American working Poor without consequence? It is BEYOND disgraceful, disgusting and, to my mind, equals Grand Larceny on an Epic Scale! Special Prosecutor Mueller! WHERE are you and HOW much longer are we to be FORCED to suffer these Self-Serving Thieves and Moral Degenerates? IMPEACH them ALL but until then, Resist! Rebel! RePudiate!
+19 # kalpal 2017-10-26 05:05
Betraying their constituents is what the Guardians Of Privilege inevitably do. It is something they are sworn to do before they take the oath of office.
+25 # relegn 2017-10-26 06:31
The best way to deal with the banking system is to set limits on how large individual banks can become. After the limits are set, breaking up those banks that exceed the set limit. Of course reinstating Glass-Stegall would also be a good idea. Removing the quick profit motive from banking would be a step forward in stabilizing the system.
0 # NAVYVET 2017-10-28 15:31
In the meantime, USE A CREDIT UNION!! It's not just the small size, the local concentration and the friendly personal touch. They are a whole lot more honest since most of them include all depositers as xhareholders (some as co-owners), and a whole lot less reckless. Check out and join one that does.

I haven't deposited a penny in a bank since 1998.
0 # tm7devils 2017-10-28 18:43
...and here's the real irony(lie):
Sen Flake, when he addressed his reasons for not running for another term, said the following at the end of his dialogue:

"But more is now required of us than to put down our thoughts in writing. As our political culture seems every day to plumb new depths of indecency, we must stand up and speak out. Especially those of us who hold elective office.

To that end, and to remove all considerations of what is normally considered to be safe politically, I have decided that my time in the Senate will end when my term ends in early January 2019. For the next 14 months, relieved of the strictures of politics, I will be guided only by the dictates of conscience."

I guess that when he placed his CFPB vote, his "dictates of conscience" meant that he was going to vote with the repugs, as usual, and screw the American people, at least, one more time...and in doing so, plumbed the depths of indecency even deeper.

January 2019 can't come soon enough.

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